Remember Malcolm Gladwell’s book called Blink?
Gladwell argued that we should trust our snap judgments, using examples from science, advertising, medicine and music. These examples showed that spontaneous decisions were as good as, and usually better than, carefully considered ones.
In Wait: The Art and Science of Delay, Frank Partnoy takes the exact opposite point of view. After interviewing more than 100 experts from different fields and examining several hundred studies, Partnoy claims that most people don’t take enough time to make decisions. Using a Gladwell-esque style, Partnoy argues that the best decision makers – premier athletes, expert investors, and even popular comedians – hone the ability to wait as long as possible before deciding or acting.
I’m writing this blog while watching a professional baseball game and the game itself reinforces Partnoy’s claim. The best hitters are the ones who wait the longest time to make a decision about whether to swing at a pitch. The swing has been practiced so often it’s mechanical and not the important differentiator. The key to being a good hitter is to gather information about the ball as quickly as possible, so as to leave time to process this information and make a decision on how to swing. “Ball identification” is analogous to sizing up a situation in business.
Read the full blog post here.